Since the beginning of our journey, we have tried to create a wearable experience starting from our existing handheld app. A first working solution has been achieved just taking advantage of the WearableExtender that has allowed us to easily extend the status bar notifications, providing detailed info and extended functionalities to the wearable device. Even if this approach can work for the majority of the applications and it is really straightforward to achieve, it has some drawbacks in terms of achievable features and availability of content on the smartwatch. In fact, if the smartphone and the wearable device are not coupled, the latter one cannot offer any more access to the previously shown content. Keeping in mind that the wearable device is not a substitute of the handheld one but more like an extension that should try to simplify the user life, we have then exposed a limited number of functionalities into a custom wearable app. In order to achieve this result both applications currently share a common module but are decoupled in terms of single application modules. In this way it is possible to recycle and share code elements like the ContentProvider, the models and common utilities but at the same time keep distinct the different platform based implementations. In ‘Pimp my Wear’, this solution has led us to a wearable application that can be used by the user even if the two devices are temporarily disconnected but at the same time to a situation where the content gets out-synced. In this chapter we are going to have a look at how the Wearable Api can help us exchanging and syncing data between the two different devices.
In “Colonizing Wearables”, after a first attempt of running the existing handheld version of the Books application on a smartwatch, we ended up creating a simple Android Wear module that displays the number of available book entries. This has been done not only to discover more about Android Wear, but because a handheld app should not be just ported to a wearable device. During our journey, we have introduced few of the new UI components offered by the wear support library. Among them, WatchViewStub has allowed us to handle different screen shapes, figuring out at runtime the type of display. We also had a chance to understand the reason why and how the wearable module has to be included into the handheld build. Therefore, the goal of this part is to evolve the previous module into something that can be easily used by user and that tries to follow as much as possible the android wear design patterns.
In “Landing on Wearables” we have approached wearables devices extending our existing app’s notifications and explaining briefly how to bind them to our development machine for debugging purposes. Now it is time to study more in deep what we can achieve directly on a device running Android Wear, understanding the constraints and the possibilities that the platform introduces. We will continue to keep as reference the Books application previously developed and we will try to create an Android Wear module.
In “Introduction to Wearables” we had a look at some of the concepts those are the foundations of Android Wear. In this part we are going to skip completely any considerations on that and we’ll have a look at how things work underneath. In particular, we’ll have a look at how to extend existing application’s notifications and how to debug on wearables(this second part will be used for the following tutorials). In order to achieve this, we’ll start with a sample application that runs just on a handheld device and we’ll try step by step to extend it, trying to create a beautiful user experience even on a device running Android Wear. Read the rest of this entry
Wearable devices are definitely one of the most exciting and coolest technologies of 2014 along with drones and smart cars. Hardware producers, software companies and even start-ups are pushing the boundaries beyond what is just being on a handheld device, struggling to open new challenges and attract new customers. Something similar has been already seen when smartphones were just at the beginning of their appearance, but this time the purposes and targets of this technology are a little bit different. It is not just a matter of keeping the user connected with the World outside but it’s more about offering him new services, getting more from/into his life. Sensors can collect data about user activities (heart rate, pedometer, burn calories, sleep hours…) allowing to know more from the user’s context and his behaviors. Embedding them on wearable devices(smartwatches, rings, betls,…) can grant almost a 24 hours coverage, attracting the user to use something that he is already used to wear but with more functionalities and fancier. Read the rest of this entry
It looks like that Today it’s my second year anniversary here in London :)
I want definitely to be a lot more concise than the past year but at the same time I want to write something that will remain as stone in the path of my life. Read the rest of this entry
As you probably already know, today the Android team has released the latest version of Android (Lollipop – V21) to all the developers across the World.
This version is full of new APIs and it will definitely be an important milestone for the green platform. As Holo did a while ago, Material is going to change the way in which we’re used to use our devices enchanting animations, transitions, colors and usability. Read the rest of this entry
When I started to develop the first Android version of MyNextBus in London, I had to think about how implement the section management of different items types into a list. It was a great opportunity, at the time of the first writing, to use the framework’s widget called ExpandableListView. If you have never heard about that before, a quick look should solve any lack and make you more comfortable with what you’ll read below. Read the rest of this entry
It has been one year since I left Italy, my friends and the warm nest of a family that never stops loving you.
Just this morning I received an email from my father who was asking me if I’m celebrating this wonderful day. I think that the biggest celebration is to be here; it doesn’t matter if it’s London, Paris, NY,… but the important fact is that I’m still here, fighting day by day for all those things that I like to do. In just one year a lot of things have changed in my mind, in my life and in my job. New horizons, goals and people have started to be part of this new life but at the same time all the “old” important ones have continued to follow me and support all my choices. Read the rest of this entry
at the end of last week, after the Apps World conference, I went to the Droidcon conference here in London. It has been an event full of Android rock stars and full of good speeches like the one of Facebook, ProGuard and Gradle.
This time I don’t want to spend many words but only give some pics from that experience.